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tv   Kelly File Investigation The VA Scandal  FOX News  May 25, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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that's it for tonight. this is mike huckabee from new york. stay tuned for "justice with judge jeanine." >> welcome to a kelly file investigation. i am megyn kelly. it is an outrage and a betrayal for the risk we asked our troops to make. when may 2008 as obama ripped the bush administration over the story of an 89-year-old vet who reportedly committed suicide after being denied healthcare. the same tory is playing out but on a much bigger scale this time
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with barack obama at the helm. now more than a dozen veteran if as illities they couldn't kwget care and what were sometimes deadly results. never before have i seen an allegation of the coverup of 40 people dying. >> senator john mccain expressing shock about the phoenix va hospital ground zero to a story that took an already troubling state of affairs to a new and disturbing low. december of 2013 dr. sam hood of the phoenix va retired and publically detailed allegations patients have died at his facility while awaiting care that would never come. dr. foot alleges veterans are being ignored, that wait times are being falsified. that samonths would pass and th april 9th, the story explodes
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when the chairman of the house veterans affairs committee speaks out. detailing the extent of the phoenix va's alleged fraud saying two sets of records were kept, one that was secret with the real and lengthy wait time, another that falsely showed bogus two-week waits. investigators believe as many as 40 veterans may have died while waiting for appointments. dr. foot later appeared on the kelly files. >> you say literally that veterans are dying and have died as a result of this shody system at the phoenix va where they are ignoring veterans until they die. explain? >> what happened was in february 2013 they started a secret waiting list it was a paper list. >> family members of the dead are stunned and outraged. >> she said, well we have him ready for a primary care doctor and that's when i screamed at the lady, i did scream, i told
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her, you got to be kidding me. you are way too late he died thanks to you guys. >> as the kelly files reports the president stayed silent until fox news asked them directly about the scandal. >> the moment we heard about the allegations around these 40 individuals who had died in phoenix, i immediately ordered the secretary of veterans affairs general shinseki to investigate. >> a few days later security ril shinseki said some officials in phoenix have been placed on leave. but the american league gone says more heads should role. >> it is with great sadness that i call for the resignation of secretary shinseki under secretary of health robert pencil and secretary of benefits allison hickey. >> the white house continues to stand by va leadership. >> the white house remains confident at shinseki's
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capabilities. >> it is not just phoenix. phoenix is an example of a much larger problem. >> the house votes to subpoena e-mails from top officials. the next day senator mccain holds a town hall on the scandal. an overflow crowd is in attendance. >> my dead veteran hospital could not be much more patient than he is today. but me, i am pissed. >> by may 12th the scandal has spread across a number of states. the next night hundreds pack another town hall in phoenix at an event that was supposed to last one hour goes for four. >> we veterans do not get the care necessary or diagnoses necessary to give us the proper treatment we need. this is what we get. >> two-days later may 15th secretary shinseki fights to keep his job. >> any allegation, any adverse
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incident like this makes me as -- makes me mad as hell. >> would you explain to me after knowing all of this information why you should not resign? >> i told you, senator, that i came here to make things better for others. that was my appointment. by the president. >> by may 20th administration officials try to tamp down the alarm on capitol hill. the same day we learn 26 va facilities are being investigated nationwide. on may 21st nearly 6 years to the day after condemning the betrayal of american veterans, president obama makes his first extended public comments on the scandal. >> i know the people are angry and want reckoning. i sympathize with that. we have to let the investigators do their job and get to the bottom of what happened. >> no sooner was the president done with those remarks than the
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questions began. why is he waiting for this report when there have already been several investigations? warnings about wait times going back years and multiple reports from the government accountability office about a system where employers were using tricks to hide what was really going on with our healthcare for our veterans. joining me now is daniel dell linger the national commander of veterans. and retired army colonel and fox news vat teeistrategic analyst. national commander let me start with you. in the words of barack obama this is a dissgras. what has changed in the last month verses what we have been seeing over the past six years when it comes to the treatment of our veterans in this healthcare system? oo unfortunately we see nothing changing. that's the problem. we really expected the secretary shinseki and the president to be
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very proactive in this, to be very decisive and make changes necessary immediately but we haven't seen that. >> ralph, i know that you are a defender of general shinseki. he has very few of them right now because people are so concerned about the american veterans. make the case for why this distinguished man who has served our country so loyally and none theless has seen an agency plagued by failures should stay in his role? >> blaming general shinseki for problems that developed for more than a half century. it's like blaming your doctor for your cancer. i always ask those who are crying to lynch general shinseki, who is he replacing? who even wants this thankless job? people generalize and say we need to bring in an outside experts. who. give me who. name names. that's the other thing megyn that really bothers me about a
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list. on both sides of the aisle i am hearing outrage some sincere some mocked. i am hearing a lot of accusations but i am not hearing how to fix it. commander lynch and i would agree on this this is a terrible problem it is also hit the va with a perfect storm. we not only have the vietnam vets aging now we have vets from the recent conflicts who we were able with the miracles of modern military medicine to keep them alive. they would have died in previous wars but they required greater levels of care and what do we have? we are trying to treat them with a civil service where we protect the bad actors, government union rules that protect bad actors, procurement rules that keep our technology administrative technology in the dark ages. it is one thing after another. i think general shinseki in five
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years struggling to 15 years under funding and neglect and he's the wrong guy to blame. >> the congress fried to do something about that and the democrats and senate stomed it. more control during hiring and firing the democrats said no. ralph peters has said this isn't general shinseki's fault. obviously the problem has possibly grown. who would you put at the helm of this investigation. where do we go from here? >> we agree this is a complex issue. the reason why was general shinseki hired? he was hired to come into the va he brought him into the va and make these problems go away. this isn't something that is
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new. it was 20010 that outlined this exact problem. we have seen failed leadership there. if this is a venue you relieve the duty. >> this is really, are willy, really hard. it takes time to fix it. it breaks my heart vets are being treated so badly but suddenly it's a crisis. i am not a defender of president obama by any means. this is a long standing problem. >> let me ask you this. i get that. why didn't barack obama come out this week and say he knew about this. this is a severe backlog for
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patients trying to become backers. they were actively working to cover it up. they were told about that and also about the coverup. why a wouldn't he come out and say this is what we tried to do to stop that though change the system. we are learning now there are failures. we didn't hear that national commanders we heard let's wait for another ig report. >> they already admitted to 23 preventable deaths and they paid out over $36 million of compensation for wrongful deaths. they know this has been an ongoing problem. that's where the accountability, the transparency needs to come forth. >> it is good of you both to be here. thank you so much. >> this va scandal may be just a preview of government run healthcare of big government problems in general. ahead we will investigate that.
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plus... >> we have heard from the administration the va and some of america's largest veteran groups spokesman. but what about the vets themselves. >> i am proud to be a veteran. i am ashamed to be a va patient. >> we are not numbers we are proud americans. we served our country. we all were asking if you do what we did for you. >> in the days since we went looking for the director of the phoenix va she has been suspended and ordered to pay back her bonuses. tonight new details about 40 veterans died waiting for care. >> plus responsibility for things always rest with me. >> he is waiting for a full report before deciding action on the va scandal. his team was alerted to these issues several years ago. we will dig into that when the
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no veteran should have to fill out a 23-page claim to get care or wait >> no veteran should have to wait months or years to get an appointment at the va. >> america will not let you
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down. we will take care of our own. >> let us commit other severse - ourselves to make sure veterans get the care they have earned. >> he was candidate obama then. he has campaigned on the issue of care for our veterans. as a senator he attacked the bush administration for problems at walter reed. as president he is taking credit for taking credit at the va. he said it is the cause of my presidency which led to this question at the recent white husband news conf -- white hous news conference. >> you said you ran on this issue. why was it allowed to get this this stage where you actually had potentially 40 veterans who died while waiting for treatment? why did it get to that. >> that question not only loomed large at white house but they
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face tough reelection fights this fall. from u.s. to pittsburgh today chris good to see you. >> good to see you. >> the president was sure to point the out he did not believe this was a political football. he made care for veterans a political issue time and time again in his own path. will it be you as such going forward? >> this administration talked about dog whistles in the past. democrats from the president to senior staffers to in fact make sure that this is defined in the par partisan issue. they said republicans are only interested in this because they want to hurt the president. whether it was the irs arguing the president's political enemies or talking points from the benghazi race whatever it was that has been the effort. it is a little harder with this one. this is a breech of trust that
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cannot stand. this is a preach of trust the president themselves knows that it is incredibly powerful, that's why he exploded it that's why he used it for when he was running for office. it was explosive. >> he did it repeatedly at qualitier read. people were held accountable for that and backlogs at the va. now it is him and his administration and the problem has grown now we can't mix politics with veteran's care. are american people going to catch on to that? that seems rather on the nose. >> it is on the nose. but here's the thing. what the president needs is to -- the discussion you had should shinseki be fired or will he be fired he has to get fired from a political point of view something has to happen. if something like this is going on to say it is over to a punctuation point he knows he
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used it so effectively with the republicans. he knows the power of veterans. especially if his party isn't a dire straight as it comes to holding on to the senate. shinseki when he goes or not he needs to go. >> thus far in the scandal they seem to be all over the board. >> what the republicans are going to try to do is focus to narrow down and talk about these instances of the phony record keeping. >> you get into a manslaughter area. that is where the republicans want to go. they want to go to the season's bad actions and talk about the scandal. what democrats are going to do. it stinks and has stunk for 50 years what a tragedy.
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>> how does that work 50 years into an administration. it's the republican's fault. s it is something you see in the others, too. why did the irs have political enemies, because it turns out republicans refused to giving out the i are,s. they weren't able to defend a finey garrison in benghazi because of the republicans and their thriftyness. you will hear the message from the president and democrats we all lament it and lament the fact that they take care of that. >> the administration and va say they are angry and investigating and trying to make this better. most of the veterans we talk to are challenging that. we would speak to a whole group of vets just ahead about what they think is going on here. plus we travel to phoenix where
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vets reportedly died waiting for care that report when the kelly files investigation returns. >> they were playing around in people's lives. i don't have a husband any more. >> what gives you the right for what i did for a whole year. ♪ (woman) this place has got really good chocolate shakes. (growls) (man) that's a good look for you. (woman) that was fun. (man) yeah. (man) let me help you out with the.. (woman)...oh no, i got it. (man) you sure?
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as the story of the va scandal broke, the most disturbing allegations came from the phoenix v arka medical cent with details of a secret waiting list with months long waiting times. allegations that at least 40 veterans died while waiting for the va director has been suspended and forced to repay her bonuses and trace gallagher has the rest of the story from phoenix. hey, trace.
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>> it was never a secret patients of the va hospital in phoenix were having trouble getting in to see their doctor. sam foot dropped a bombshell saying there were two lists at the hospital. one was on the computer that everyone saw showing patients were being seen in a timely manner. in a secret list written by hand no one saw on that list veterans waited months sometimes more than a year to get their appointment. >> i never directed staff to do a secret waiting list. >> but more employees of the phoenix va began coming forward like this man. listen. >> they are flat outlying. dr. foot came out, that's why i am here to support dr. foote because i know first hand. i have seen it, i have done it, i used it. we did it every day. they are absolutely lying. >> so the kelly file went back
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to director sharon hill man's home after she was put on leaf. she didn't answer. watch this. >> this is fox news the kelly files. can we speak with you? >> the families of veterans who died spoke plenty loud like thomas green who came in with blood in his urine and died of bladder cancer before he was ever diagnosed or treated and james purred who died of skin cancer he didn't know he had. and pedro valdez who came in because he couldn't breathe and was sent home. he later died of respiratory failure. >> i still think he was loyal to the hospital because he was loyal to his country. he had the faith he would be loyal to him ain return and it never happened. >> 40 families are similar
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heartbreaking tails. >> thank you. as the scandal unfolds we are hearing suggestions that the problems the va point to much bigger issues with big government programs. we will dig into that and speak with our panel next and talk to real life veterans and families as they share their message for washington. >> i have had no luck at all. i called there constantly from november to this month and nothing. >> we are proud americans. we are not numbers. >> i want to know if the people are going to stand up and say, we have to start taking care of our veterans. in the nation, it's not always pretty.
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>> it certainly does. that was more of the town hall meeting in arizona designed to let veterans and families talk about concerns over this scandal. people were so upset it was scheduled for an hour, it ran four times that long. supporters who have firsthand experience with the va. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> that story waiting two months after beiing diagnosed, unfortunately, some of you had experiences. you're the captain of the u.s. air force reserves, had a back injury in the navy. tell us about your experience in the minneapolis va. >> absolutely, thank you for having us. injured over 20 years ago in the navy. got out, never thought i would be back in. i went back into the air force after 9/11. after the last 11 years, the back has gotten worse where in the last two years, it's to the point where i need additional help. i filed my claim toward the
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beginning of this year, so i'm heading into my fifth month of waiting on the initial claim and that's just to be parenthesised to say yes, you can receive treatment and i have to get in another line to actually get the treatment and i've lost probably i would say in the last couple months, about 10% tefeeling in left leg. >> amber, you're a veteran, as well, how discouraging is this? >> it's absolutely frustrating to see an administration that cares more about their self-image than taking care of veterans and that's how i view it. 40 veteran s are dead. this is as big of a scandal as bin g benghazi or irs and they don't hold anybody accountable from shinseki down to sharon helman at the phoenix facility, she's on paid leave right now. so as a veteran and seeing my
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fellow veterans go through some of these hoff riff if i crrific it's infuriating to me. >> you had a horrific time trying to enroll at your veteran's hospital just to get treatment. >> yes, you know, i was told by some individuals i should go, i should enroll, be seen, nice and easy, for the better and the day i went down there after kind of mustering up the courage to do so, i was nervous about being involved in the system itself, i spoke to a woman who was not the most professional woman to begin with. she gave me my paperwork to fill out to to enroll and i handed it in when i was finished and she told me unfortunately the person to take my paperwork and to take new veteran s into the system was not there that day and to come back next week. i was frustrated. >> you're there but because one woman is not there, you have to leave and come back. >> exactly. i did that. i came back the next week and handed in my paperwork.
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that person was not there again. they told me they would call me. they never did. i called them. when i did, they said they had no record of my information there, personal information, social security number, military after that i walked away and i got silian healthcare. >> doesn't really encourage you to stay in the system. >> let me ask you, you are a u.s. marine veteran. you think this is criminal. >> i do. it goes beyond missing deadlines. it goes beyond fudging numbers. there are lives at steak. there are lives that were lost. one lie is too many. after they admitt deaths being related to time delayed issues at what point do we need to fix this and what point do we need to hold people accountable for the losses.
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>> the air force vet former advisor of u.s. veteran affairs under president bush. this has been going on a long time but now we are hearing about people dying as a result of the delays. you personally heard some of these stories. >> i served three secretaries my former boss was on your show secretary frinseki. what is shocking about this is the total ethical breakdown. it is not shocking there might be gaming of the system and that the wait times are there but the gaming has gone to the point to causing veteran's deaths. that is always an ethical line. my personal belief about the actual problems being criminal is that in 2010 there was the smoking memo. they said stop it all visiting directors stop it.
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all visiting director that is there any scandal phoenix, chicago, they should be basically fired. what you can do is although you can't fire them at the va you can leave them in my air force they did with nine officers. shinseki should believing everyone of those medical directors who have not followed that directive had problems they should be visen immediately. >> that's how crazy the situation is now. just to give him the power to fire the people responsible at this specific va we need legislation. we have to pass it because the general cannot fire these people. that is installed in the second. we have more with the veteran's panel right after this. we have sibling layer problems with the va that have only grown and more whistleblowers continue to come by the week. there will be accountability. do the veterans believe him that
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are you down with crestor!? ask your doctor if crestor could help you. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. . well, this va scandal exposes about four weeks ago and president obama spoke abt ed henry asked him about it a few weeks ago. the second time at the conference a few days back. now he's promising action. we return to our panel. we want to ask you about your reaction to it. you are a skipper a are married to a u.s. vet as well. your thoughts about the comment? >> it was a lot of talk. we have heard the same thing 5 or 6 years ago. nothing that is changed. >> you don't believe in the wake of the deaths and the political firestorm that he is going to do more this time. >> no, ma'am, not at all. >> why not?
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>> nothing chhas changed. everything he says it's not true. we have had more deaths and people waiting for care. we have had just more of everything. nothing has changed. the numbers are increasing. nothing has decreased. my husband a couple months ago went to the va to get some cancer removed from his arm. his blood pressure was high. he went to the va hospital sent him to the emergency room we were in there for six and a half hours. nobody checked his blood pressure. when the doctor came in he asked him, are you feeling better now? he didn't check his blood pressure or nothing. dave abo gave him medication and sent him home. >> not exactly cadillac care. >> this has been around for years now. it just seems like the tipping point has been what we learned about phoenix and that documentation exists now that vets are actually dying.
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>> i do hope this is a water shed moment. this has been a horrendous bipartisan failure. i talked to combat vets in iraq and afghanistan. they are united in a few things. number won the va is extraordinarily important. number two they are not getting the care that they deserve. i would hope in a we would never send our men and women into combat without proper equipment and proper planning. that's what we are doing to the almost 2 and a half million vets coming home to iraq and afghanistan. we don't have the systems in place, don't have the care in place and the funding in place. we have known about this for a decade. it is bipartisan failure on both sides. >> you voted for president obama. how do you think he is handling it? >> i don't know. it is hard from the seed of power. he has done a lot to help veterans. it has improved since he has been in office. i think the accountability needs
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to be placed on the right people. >> how about the issue of accountability? we had valve peters saying he defends shinseki. what do you think? >> i have to say when president obama had his press conference a few days ago i thought i was going to finally see some presidential leadership and he was going to say he had accepted secretary shinseki's hearing and they may have been reading from the exact same speech because they said the same thing. they are both hiding behind the inspector general's investigation that isn't due out until august. it only speaks to the latest episode of the scandal. >> they put out hundreds of reports every year. just like we saw in shinseki's testimony they are not making it all of the way up to the top or he is not caring to read it. no changes are being made from those reports. >> how many of you think secretary shinseki should be forced to resign. >> potentially. >> we have the facts to come
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out. >> if you were ever at the va you would understand that next to god is the va secretary. he hasn't shown anything. he hasn't been communicating, hasn't been talking to employees or veterans. he become part of the problem. >> help us understand as someone who, woulded with prior investigations how does it happen we get reportis saying there's active fraud in covering it up. president obama has not. how does that happen? >> the sebcretary gets briefed every week on all of this stuff. he 4r50e6s it to i see had deputy secretary. >> you think he didn't know this was happening? >> he probably left to the deputy secretary.
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obama's nominated the new vha replacement under secretary who has been a part of the problem. he needs to go as well. he needs one of the visual office directors. >> they actually do care about veteran's care. do you believe these people at these select facilities were actively committing fraud knowing that it could lead to the death of veterans? go ahead. >> they were around the bonuses keeping their jobs and making them look good. >> they put more effort into hiding the problem. >> we have to go, quickly. >> i think they are self serving. i don't think they thought they would actually kill people. they were too incompetent. >> thank you for your service and thank you for being here. >> just ahead heartbreaking stories raising new questions
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about big government programs. we will take a look when we come back. >> as a result in those kinds of publically run systems you get tremendous inefficiency, no penalties for it, and you get falsification. ...all day relief. hmm. [bell ring] "roll sound!" "action!"
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the nightmare stories coming out of the va medical system are raising questions about big government programs. pete is an iraq and afghanistan war veteran and concerned veterans for robert zimmerman is democratic strategist and co founder of zimmerman and bond. >> we heard veterans directly talking this. you say in the veteran's community for years now there has been a cynical refrain from delay, deny, wait until i die.
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wa what do you think this scandal says about the va system, obamacare and big government in general? >> this shows us the va is an infe infective system. it doesn't give timely care to veterans because it is top down single payer healthcare. this is what it looks like when government runs your healthcare. when there is a bureaucracy between you and your doctor. while obamacare is not single payer this is a preview of what obamacare could look like and is starting to look like for more americans. less choice, higher costs, more bureaucracy, more paperwork and likely delays and rationing. when you have to fix the mouth and the government controls it there is only so much they can provide. it is what they are experiencing in many places. >> last time on the program he said he didn't thinkhe president wanted to solve the problem with the administration.
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they show the failings of obamacare. the benghazi ir s candle and wet through the litany of partisan rhetoric. of course your guests this evening said last night because of the deputy chief of staff to the president shows secretary shinseki there might not be an objective analysis going on here. might be a coverup. the point i am making is this, this is not -- there was a time in our country we came together in times of christ si-- crisis. this crisis should have passed everyone. everyone who calls themselves an american should be outraged it. >> (talking over one another) >> can i finish my point. >> it is a long point. i would like to ask you a follow up on it. >> sure. did he put politics aside when he was running for office when it came to veterans and their
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service? >> absolutely not. he campaigned his president and had president bush before with every individual. >> that speaks to my point. when it is political football the president thought it was fair game to play ball with it. now it's a different story. >> that's incorrect. >> this is about facts. i said nothing about benghazi and nothing about the irs. >> congressman hunter did. >> you said nothing about obamacare you are talking about bipartisan consensus. there should be a bipartisan consensus that it is time to fix an infected department as the president said he would fix. instead he through more money at the problem not getting at the systemic and endemic problems of bureaucracy. >> perfectly appropriate for you to raise that point. what we are withining is n witnessing is not bipartisan rhetoric but stilt. using the scandal to engage in a
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whole score of partisan rhetoric. >> with what? does the president have criticism here. >> you can link obamacare to the veteran's administration knowing full well your as your guests -- >> big government. >> he raised obamacare. obamacare is about private insurance. it is not government run-ins. individuals are going to insurance companies for insurance. >> thank you. we will be right back. ugh. heartburn. did someone say burn? try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and are proven to taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm. amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief.
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we have heard from the veterans, but we would like your reaction. go to "kel >> on june 6, 1944, gallant men from another generation embarked on the blargest land invasion ever attempted by war. coming from the national d-day memorial in virginia. this site chosen to honor all of the allies that died during the bedford boys 19 young soldiers from the one small town who lost their lives that day. the decision to invade europe had been in the planning stages for months. the russians had the treaty on the eastern front so the timing was right for the allies to strike hitler on the shores


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